Front of House Manager
When Johnny joined us as a barman he expected to just work a season in Woolacombe; five years later, and he's still here!
Today, Johnny manages a team of 11 colleagues in Bay Brasserie, plus overseeing the team in Doyle’s where breakfast and afternoon teas are served.
How did you come to work at Woolacombe Bay Hotel?
Before I came to Woolacombe, I was a Hotel Manager in Sighisoara, which is a city in Transylvania, Romania. An agency helped me find the role, and I told my family that I would “be away for six months” – I expected to be back when the season ended in October. But I really loved it here, so my partner came to join me; she is a waitress in Doyle’s. That time we said we’d be here for a year…five years later we are married, still here in Woolacombe, and we have a beautiful little girl; she is eighteen months old!
What does your role – Front of House Manager – involve?
I oversee teams in the Bay Brasserie, Doyle’s Restaurant and Neo Cinema. The biggest part of this is training the team to offer exemplary service – the kind that makes the experience friendly and special - deserving of the four Silver Stars we have been awarded.
I make sure that lunch and dinner service run smoothly, and I act as a liaison between the restaurant and kitchen team. Every day I discuss the day’s service with our Head Chef - Eddie - to share any feedback on the menus. I also order drinks to keep the bar stocked, and plan staff rotas.
There is no typical day! I enjoy the variety.
Do you have any new plans for your role?
I am introducing new brands of drinks into the bar. We like to have something different and unexpected to share. I also like to think about special touches to enhance the whole dining experience. When I joined the WBH Family, we had two evening restaurants – Doyle’s and Bay Brasserie. Now we have a single evening menu, served in Bay Brasserie. The transition has been an opportunity to think about how we combine the vibrancy of Bay Brasserie with the special dining experience that was Doyle’s. This is an ongoing journey and one that I am proud to be a part of.
Which is your favourite dish?
I have two favourites dishes: steak and beef burger. I could have them every day!
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
To smile when I don’t feel like it (laughing!) That’s a joke…I always feel like smiling! Recruitment has been tough lately, but that is the case for many hospitality businesses, and I am lucky to have wonderful colleagues. Every day is different; new day, new challenges. You think you have seen it all, but you haven’t!
What do you look for when you hire new people?
When I hire a new member for team, I am looking to see how enthusiastic that person is when they speak about the job - how much do they want to be part of our story? Of course, experience is very important, but I find that sometimes a person with little or no experience was a very good choice for the team.
Why do you like working here at the hotel?
I like everything about my job! I like making time to chat with guests. I like to see that they are happy. At the end of the service, I enjoy chatting with the team to ensure that they are happy too, and that they are enjoying their roles. I don’t think I have had a day here at WBH that I didn’t like! Every day is different.
Would you recommend WBH as a place to work?
Definitely. As I said, I came for six months, and five years later I am still here! To work here is a huge opportunity. I am proud of the journey I have made. If you enjoy your job and you work hard here, you can progress and will be rewarded. And I really like the people I work with.
What do you love about living in Woolacombe?
When I first started at WBH, I lived in the staff accommodation, and my partner joined me there. Now that we have a family, we live in a flat, still in Woolacombe. I love the coast and I love the freedom. I feel like we can go anywhere!